Bathers may not care, but this fountain actually has the wrong name. It is a persistent misconception that the figure is supposed to be Henman Sevogel, who fell in the Battle of St. Jacob in 1444. As a matter of fact, it is a symbol of Basel’s participation in the religious wars of the 16th century. Perhaps the confusion has something to do with the “eventful” history of the fountain: when the Martinskirche was renovated in the mid-19th century, the Martinsbrunnen fountain was moved to the south-west corner of the square. Another half century passed after that, until the proud commander made his appearance.
Incidentally, the Martinskirche plays an important role during the Herbstmesse (autumn fair): its bell rings for the start of the lively activities at the end of October each year.